Travelling through the centre of NSW in Australia, one comes across a lot of country which has been cleared of vegetation to permit large-scale agriculture. Small towns dot the landscape and it is quite the last place one would expect to find a large, beautifully maintained, very green and peaceful garden. But there is just such a place and it is in the town of Cowra.
Cowra has a history which links it to the people of Japan – it was the location of a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II. Amazingly, in modern times, this has resulted in a strong bond being formed between the town and what was formerly an enemy nation. Indeed, in the early 6os, the Japanese even gathered their war dead from all across Australia and re-buried them in Cowra.
To celebrate this bond and provide a place to promote the cultural relations between the two, Cowra is now home to an exquisite Japanese Garden.
The design of the garden shows its Japanese heritage – and it includes the six elements of mountain, rocks, pines; the water features of mountain lakes and mountain waterfalls, and finally rivers entering oceans. Incorporating all these in an inland, dry, flat landscape was a feat in itself! A small hill represents the mountain and the beautifully constructed water features cascade from the top of this hill to the delightful lakes in the valley below.
I enjoy well maintained gardens and this one is a treat! I also delight in aquatic features, and these abound here! Consequently, when I was in Cowra recently, I decided to re-visit the gardens, to soak up some of the ambience and to capture some of the vistas for future enjoyment. I also came away very inspired to construct some of the great water features in my own garden!
As it was early in spring, I had hoped to arrive while the fruit trees were out in flower. Alas, it was a bit early – they had started blooming, but the garden was still more green than pink and white.
Despite being unmistakably Japanese in design, I like the way the Australian flora has been allowed to blend with other species in each section of the garden. Eucalyptus trees are a feature of the wide grassed areas and they create a nice background to the rest of the garden.
This mix of species really does capture the melding of spirits between the people of Cowra and their friends in Japan. The buildings in the garden are used for traditional ceremonies as well as being used as meeting places. Other buildings are specialised centres where educational programs feature prominently.
This garden is a wonderful green space in what can be a very hot and dry rural area. It is the perfect reply to the WordPress Weekly Challenge: Green!